The family court system is incredibly unpredictable. It’s outdated and overwhelmed with cases that are emotionally charged and so personal.
We involve expensive attorneys and expect an impersonal judge to decide the outcome that impacts our entire world.
There is no winning in family court.
He said, she said.
Kids get caught in the middle.
Some parents intentionally manipulate them to get what they want.
They manipulate others and focus on their personal agenda. No one wants what’s best for the family anymore.
Even with documentation, going back to court is a gamble. Does anyone really want to risk it?
What if our situation gets worse? What if fighting for our basic parental rights somehow has them taken away completely? What if they lie again?
There are so many unkowns.
And I can’t overcome the fear associated with my last custody battle to justify ever going back again.
So I let her live with her dad.
I can’t tell you why I made that decision, because I don’t even understand it. I had the most undeniable impression that it’s what needed to happen. I can’t describe it and it doesn’t make logical sense at all, but in my heart I knew that this is what would be best for our family.
For a long time I lost my faith. I couldn’t understand why all of these terrible things were happening to me when I was trying to do everything right. I had to learn to trust my intuition again but it was undeniable that my daughter needed to live with her dad. I called her stepmom right then and told her. We agreed on new conditions- that she could fly by herself, that I would choose visitation, and that she could move back with us anytime. And it’s been that way ever since.
At first I hoped she would change her mind. That she would live with them and decide that she really wanted to stay with us after all. But as the years have gone by, I’ve realized that she is so happy there. She is so much like her dad and they get along so well. They provide her with opportunities to learn and grow in a way that I wouldn’t be able to.
My perspective has shifted from feeling threatened and trying to hold onto her so tightly, to letting her go and watching her figure things out on her own. This is about what’s best for her.
At times I feel so guilty because it doesn’t seem like I’m even her mom anymore. My role in her life has definitely changed. But instead of letting that bother me, I focus on the fact that I have the opportunity to spend quality time with her instead of getting distracted by daily life. I don’t take any moment for granted anymore.
And our lives haven’t been the same since. I miss her every single day. I still struggle planning visitation and feeling taken advantage of. Even though she lives with them, we still have to pay for plane tickets and they now live in Florida so it should technically be their responsibility to fly her out to visit us once a month. We still argue about pick up and drop off. I don’t get to see her nearly as often as I’d like and we only FaceTime once a week- sometimes not even that. She doesn’t answer my calls or texts and we struggle with consistent communication. When she visits us, we have behavior issues and she struggles to get along with her siblings. We choose to implement a parallel parenting approach because co-parenting doesn’t work for us. Our situation is still difficult and probably always will be!
But I know she is where she needs to be. She is loved and well taken care of. She’s happy! She is so much like her dad and I’ve realized that she needs him in her life just as much as she needs me. And that makes all the difference. Shifting your perspective to see the greater good. Even when it doesn’t make sense, even when it’s not what you want, even when it would be easier to fight. Set aside your expectations and change the way you approach the situation. When you choose to see joy through the trials, you’ll find happiness in ways you would never expect.
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